Safran's Vue business class seat for narrowbody aircraft is grey with darker grey thermoplastics.

Safran’s Vue from the top in crowded narrowbody herringbone market

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If the 2010s were the decade of the herringbone seat on widebody aircraft, the 2020s are the decade of the herringbone seat on narrowbody aircraft. From established seatmakers, including those that created both the inward and outward facing herringbones, to new startups who think they’ve perfected it, narrowbody herringbones are increasing in number, each with a unique selling point.

Safran Seats has some of the strongest business class herringbone heritage in the industry, with both Contour and Sicma as predecessor seatmaker companies. Its latest herringbone to break cover is Vue, an outward facing herringbone, with both sides of the single aisle pointing towards the windows.

“This is why we call this product Vue, because you have a nice view”, quipped Quentin Munier, executive vice president for strategy and innovation, showing Runway Girl Network’s journalists the seat at the company’s stand at the Aircraft Interiors Expo.

Vue, unveiled in late 2021 at rendering stage, is aimed squarely at the longhaul narrowbody market, with the increased angle of 45 degrees away from the aircraft centreline that is rapidly becoming a hallmark of herringbones in this size of cabin.

Safran's Vue business class seat for narrowbody aircraft onboard and seen in grey with darker grey thermoplastics. This is an image of a full cabin of seats.

Vue was created for the narrowbody market. Image: Safran

Pitched at 36”, “bed length is a bit more than 80 inches”, Munier says, explaining that pitch can be as low as 33”, with “the bed a little bit reduced”.

Safran’s marketing materials cite a seat width of 20.5”, a bed width of 24.1” (14” from the top), and bed length from 80.3”–85.6”. 

The company is focussing on five selling points for Vue: efficiency, equal comfort (no zero-sum problem here), density, ease of access, and stowage. Indeed, Munier notes, “we have the ability to have the meal tray and TV deployed while still being able to exit the product.”

Up close snap of Vue, showing how the table can side out from the side console

Vue’s table rotates and slides out from the side console. Image: John Walton

In addition, he says, “there is all the customisability — you have a passenger experience which is like for like with what you would expect on the standard widebody high-end business class product.”

Safran's Vue business class seat for narrowbody aircraft is pictured here in white with a dark grey pillow and some wood accents.

To enable ingress and egress, Vue’s seat cushion is beveled. Image: John Walton

But perhaps the most impressive part about Vue is that it is astoundingly spacious, particularly in bed mode, and even at 36” of pitch. (We will have to reserve judgment on the 33” version.)

While in-depth discussion of the ergonomics needs more than just a quick try-out at an AIX stand, the space feels mostly down to the expansive footwell area, which not only provides a frankly massive ottoman to a scale not even seen on widebodies, but also features an innovative arched structural support that enables the seat to be open to the aircraft sidewell at foot level. 

Safran's Vue business class seat for narrowbody aircraft, with a focus on the outward-facing nature of the seat (wherein the passenger can easily look out the window and enjoy the view)

The key curved structural support opens up the footwell to the sidewall. Image: Safran

That’s opens up a few extra inches and avoids the problem where taller passengers and those with bigger feet find themselves cramped in smaller footwell areas. 

Rotation

Safran is showing Vue with a forward-sliding door, but Munier explains that “we have integrated the door — the hard door, but also the flexible door… that we have on another mockup, which enables us to save some some weight and volume for the living space.”

With the angle of 45° away from the aircraft centerline, though, and the inherent feeling of privacy this gives, it would be interesting to see the space, volume and weight tradeoffs that a no-doors option would give.

Safran confirmed two launch customers for Vue for the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 aircraft families to RGN, with Munier citing the “A321 long range”. Executive vice president for sales Christophe Accolas previously cited customers on the A321XLR and a 737 MAX operator from the Middle East in an interview with RGN. The company expects the seat to enter into service in 2023.

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Featured image credited to Safran